Most wildfires are started by humans, however, geographic variation of potential ignition sources is not often explicitly accounted for in wildfire simulation modelling or risk assessments. In this study, we investigated how patterns of human and lightning ignitions can influence modelled fire simulations and demonstrate how these data can be used to assess post-fire flooding and sediment transport. We used historical ignition data (1992–2015) to characterize ignition patterns for thirteen mountain ranges in southern Arizona, United States, and developed FlamMap burn probability (BP) models for three scenarios: human ignition, lightning ignition, and random ignition. We then developed a watershed-scale case study assessing the impacts of ignition scenarios on post-fire hydrology using the KINEROS2 model that simulates runoff and erosion. BP models illustrated considerable differences in landscape fire risk between the three ignition scenarios. Results from the watershed model indicate the greatest impacts from the post-fire human ignition scenario, with a 10-fold increase in sediment discharge and four-fold increase in peak flow compared to pre-fire conditions. Our results show that consideration of ignition source and location is important for assessing fire risk, and our modelling approach provides a planning mechanism to identify locations most at risk to fire-induced flood hazards, where prevention and mitigation activities can be focused.
|Title||Wildfire probability models calibrated using past human and lightning ignition patterns can inform mitigation of post-fire hydrologic hazards|
|Authors||Miguel L. Villarreal, Laura M. Norman, Erika Yao, Caroline Rose Conrad|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Geomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Western Geographic Science Center|